Confusion mars bus ban test run
Under the guidelines posted on the website of the MMDA, provincial buses are not allowed to use the yellow lane. The agency encouraged bus drivers to use the third lane of EDSA.
Miguel de Guzman

Confusion mars bus ban test run

Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Confusion greeted bus drivers and commuters yesterday during the voluntary dry run of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s provincial bus ban policy on EDSA. 

Under the guidelines posted on the website of the MMDA, provincial buses are not allowed to use the yellow lane. The agency encouraged bus drivers to use the third lane of EDSA.

But according to reports, provincial buses were forced into the yellow lane, which worsened traffic congestion along EDSA.

A motorist uploaded a video on social media, showing how the redirection of passenger buses affected the EDSA lanes for private vehicles.

Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago, spokesperson for the MMDA, said there was only confusion when provincial buses were barred from entering the tunnels and flyovers.

Pialago also denied that the MMDA strictly enforced the yellow lane policy so the agency could implement the bus ban dry run.

She said the traffic congestion along EDSA was primarily caused by heavy rains yesterday.

During the dry run, provincial buses are barred from passing through EDSA from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. No penalties vill be imposed on violators.

Bus operators snub dry run

Several bus companies did not participate in the test run of the provincial bus ban on EDSA.

According to the MMDA, only 31 of the 3,000 provincial buses joined the dry run.

MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija said bus operators opted not to require their drivers to drop off passengers at the designated interim terminals after they secured a writ of preliminary injunction from a Quezon City court on Friday.

Buses are supposed to drop off and pickup passengers at the terminals located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and Valenzuela City.

Nebrija clarified that the Quezon City regional trial court issued an injunction order, stopping the implementation of the bus ban policy.

“It is not meant to stop the dry run of the bus ban. We were hoping that at least 1,000 buses would participate. But bus operators from the north did not join the test run,” he said in a television interview. 

The dry run of the bus ban pushed through despite the dismal outcome.           

Congress help sought

The MMDA sought the help of lawmakers in the implementation of programs, which seek to address traffic woes in Metro Manila.

During a hearing yesterday, the House committee on Metro Manila Development chaired by Manila first district Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez tackled the traffic congestion in the metropolis.

MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia admitted that the provincial bus ban policy suffered a setback after a Quezon City court issued a preliminary injunction.

Garcia urged lawmakers to pass laws that will improve the quality of life of Metro Manila residents.

The House of Representatives is set to conduct a hearing on the provincial bus ban following a resolution filed last week by Deputy Speaker Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte.

Lawmakers from Bicol have asked the Supreme Court to declare the MMDA’s policy null and void. – With Edu Punay

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